Every year 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs, and tragically, about 20 people die from these attacks every year. People can die due to intense bleeding from wounds, head injuries, and infections and other causes. Here’s what you need to know about deaths from dog bites.
Although only a handful of people die from dog bites in the United States every year, the numbers are much higher in the rest of the world. Worldwide, approximately 59,000 people die from rabies every year, and according to the World Health Organization, 99% of rabies deaths are related to dogs. In the United States, inoculations help to keep these numbers much lower.
One study published in the Pediatrics medical journal looked at 109 dog-bite fatalities that occurred over a six-year period from 1989 to 1994, and it discovered that over half (57%) of the victims were children under the age of ten. Experts speculate that this happens due to the small stature of children as well as their potential lack of caution when approaching dogs.
In addition, 10% of fatal attacks involved sleeping infants. Tragically, large dogs can crush an infant’s head in their mouths, and even small dogs can attack in a way that leads to unsustainable blood loss or infections.
Research from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that the proportion of children affected by dog bites during the following two years was even more striking. From 1995 to 1996, there were 25 dog-bite related fatalities in the United States. Over 10% of these attacks affected infants under the age of 30 days, and 80% of the attacks affected children under the age of 11. Only five adults (20% of the total) were affected.
The Pediatrics study indicates that 18% of deadly attacks are caused by dogs on chains, but the majority of fatal attacks (59%) involved unchained dogs on the owner’s property. In contrast, only 22% of attacks happened off the dog owner’s property.
In the CDC research on dog bite related fatalities from 1994 to 1995, the majority of the attacks involved multiple dogs. Over a third of deadly attacks involved two dogs, 8% involved three dogs, and 20% were caused by a pack of six to 11 dogs. In fact, during this time period, all the attacks that occurred off the dog owner’s property involved two or more dogs.
From 1994 to 1995, Rottweilers were responsible for the greatest number of dog-bite related fatalities in the United States, but when you look at a longer span of time, other breeds emerge as the deadliest.
To narrow in on the most deadly breeds of dogs in the United States, the Daily Beast took research from Animal People that tallied media reports of dog attacks from 1982 to 2009 in both Canada and the United States. Based on that research, the following breeds are responsible for the most deaths:
In addition to that, the following breeds were all responsible for one death each: Border Collies, Akitas, Briards, Great Pyrenees, Collies, Airedales, Saint Bernards, Weimaraner, Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and Beagles.
Note that these rankings are in the order of total number of deaths over a 27-year period. They don’t reflect the ranking used by Daily Beast. That list considered the total population of each dog breed, and then it compared those numbers to the number of attacks by that breed.
If a loved one has been killed by a dog, you may be entitled to compensation related to wrongful death. Owner negligence often plays a big role in deadly attacks, and you may be entitled to a settlement for medical bills, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering as well as other costs. Additionally, when you make a claim, you prevent that dog or the owner from hurting other people. To learn more, contact Mazow | McCullough, PC today.